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Development proposes retail, housing at Mequon Town Center

Plan could also include razing Legion Post

March 14, 2012

Mequon - The third time might be the charm for the redevelopment of several properties in the Mequon Town Center.

Blair Williams, president of WiRED Properties, consulted with the Plan Commission on Monday night on a redevelopment concept for two houses owned by Shaffer Development at 11215 and 11229 N. Cedarburg Road and a vacant city-owned lot between the northernmost house and City Hall.

Beginning in 2007, Cindy Shaffer brought plans for the site to the commission but the economic downturn effectively stopped planning for the site.

The latest plan for the site would be a two-phased development with the first phase including the two houses and city land. The American Legion Post, 6006 W. Mequon Road, would be redeveloped in a second phase. Because of the Legion building's historic status, the Landmarks Commission would have to approve its demolition.

Retail and housing proposed

Williams told the commission that the first phase could stand on its own. Under discussion is a mixed use, three-and-half story building that would face Cedarburg Road. Williams said between 8,000 to 11,000 square feet of first floor of the building would be dedicated to retail or office use, with 20 to 25 apartments on the upper floors.

Surface retail parking would be accessed from an entrance on Cedarburg Road, which would require a median cut on the street to allow access for northbound vehicles.

The underground residential parking would be accessed through the City Hall parking lot off Cedarburg Road.

Williams said Cindy Shaffer, owner of Shaffer Development, is discussing the Legion property with its owner. Currently, the proposal for that site calls for a commercial building of about 14,000 square feet. The discussions include having the Legion post as a tenant in the new space.

The project would require the city land, access from Cedarburg Road and tax-incremental financing district assistance. The project would likely be eligible for TIF incentive plan assistance. Williams said it would help bridge an anticipated gap in financing.

WiRED Properties has redeveloped two major areas on North Oakland Avenue in Shorewood. The Cornerstone property, which has retail on the first floor and apartments on the upper floors, was completed more than a year ago. A similar development, The Ravenna, is under construction across the street.

New retail sites in demand

Williams said he believes there is "significant untapped demand for new multifamily construction and a desire for new retail" in Mequon. Although he did not name any businesses, he said he has had conversations with a bar/restaurant owner and the owner of a café. Both are interested in the retail space available in the first phase of the project.

The Plan Commission indicated support for the concept and will see architectural and site plans at a later date.

Before the plan would come back to the commission, Director of Community Development Kim Tollefson said the finalized concept would go to the Economic Development Board for a discussion about the sale of the city-owned property and the TIF incentive program.

Tollefson said the plan "advances the spirit and intent of the Town Center" and has staff support.

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